5th December – Andrea’s Letter: Advent 2

5th December 2021

Dear All
Today we gathered to light the second Advent candle and to celebrate the Eucharist accompanied by Gordon’s selection of Advent hymns. As always it was lovely to be together.
Steve is asking for last minute contributions for the magazine – please forward any material to his email or to me.
Please note for the next two weeks we have a box at the back of the church to receive donations for a local food bank.

Notices for this week
Tuesday 10am Prayer Group in the Garden Room.
Thursday Holy Communion 10am followed by coffee in Friendship House

Readings for next Sunday – Third Sunday in Advent   Zephaniah 3:14-20   Philippians 4:4-7    Luke 3:7-18

Advent Devotions – I do recommend this from the Ignatius Spirituality Centre – online daily devotion for Advent – this is very good, several of us did it last year.  Website – onlineprayer.net

Further news from the diocese and church can be found on the St Andrews website. Click on the link below.


Second Sunday in Advent St Andrew’s Milngavie 2021

Malachi 3:1-4

Philippians 1:3-11

Luke 3: 1-6


One certainty of life is that life itself can never be certain. Often the best laid plans go wrong and so it is this year with our Christmas arrangements. Just when we thought the vaccine has brought us hope of a return to normality along comes anew nasty looking variant. Obviously, its potency is yet to be discovered, but it is our profound hope that this setback may prove to be a storm in a teacup, and we can look forward to Christmas and a normal winter.

I love the winter, I love the winter scenery, the views which open up after the leaves have fallen, the invigorating cold and frost, the excitement of snow. Indoors I welcome the warmth of a fire, winter pastimes like cooking knitting and puzzles.  And I certainly love a decent puzzle! I’m not sure why, especially after weeks of lockdowns, but perhaps its the satisfaction of building a picture when that tiny bit of cardboard pieces up so well with another one resulting eventually with a completed picture. At this moment scientists throughout the world are piecing together bits of information concerning Covid variants to gain them a better picture of the disease.

In our preparation for Advent our scriptures have spoken of the kingdom, God’s kingdom with themes of end times, judgement, Jesus coming again in the second coming – all complicated and uncomfortable themes. But all speaking of God’s created world, his love and purpose for his people and the completion of his work, the whole picture.

The journey of our lives too forms a picture – different incidences, pivotal moments, minor and major events, all changing us, moving us on often in the strangest and most surprising way. These events fit together to form the final picture, a final picture which we can’t possibly visualise whilst we are still creating it. It is only in hindsight looking back on the lives of others can these pictures truly take shape.

Then we can ask ourselves difficult and searching questions – are we all part of God’s plan, and do we live ordained and destined lives so that every piece of our personal jigsaw whatever the shape does eventually fit in the others? Can terribly difficult and challenging times be ultimately explained in the great scheme of things – illness, sudden bereavement, disappointment, challenging relationships etc Is there a true reason behind it all? Or are our lives more random? Interesting questions which are not easy to answer.

Many people love to explore their family trees and history by piecing together bits of information and events over many decades of marriages, careers and relationships which all have consequences and influences for the next generation, building up pictures and chain of events – again are they random, part of God’s plan or simply of our own doing? Perhaps a bit of all? Its impossible to give definitive answers to these questions. But what we do know is God’s plan for his son Jesus Christ.  He sent him to us, to live with us and finally die for us and then he rose to new life in the resurrection.

In Advent we start at the beginning, full of hopeful expectation of the Messiah, as we heard in the Gospel this morning of John the Baptist sent to prepare the way.  We listen to the familiar readings of the Old Testament prophets and then the birth narratives from the gospels.  All well-known and wonderfully reassuring and so we put the awkward and difficult questions behind us and in a sense the answers are not vital.  All we need to know is that we have a God who loves us, who for as time lived and dwelt amongst us as the person of Jesus and through death and resurrection brought us new life. And if we trust and have faith in him and continue to explore and channel that faith then in the words of Julienne of Norwich “all will be well”

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul praises his readers for holding fast to the Gospel and he continues to pray for them from his imprisonment. He said to them and as he says to us “And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless”   Philippians 1:9-10